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V.53 N.08

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN

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p07 Contents

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18 THREE CAMPUS PROJECTS


THREE RECENT UNIVERSITY BUILDING PROJECTS LED BY MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE
ARCHITECTS ILLUSTRATE THE PARTICIPATORY DESIGN PROCESS ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES IN
CANADA. TEXT CHRISTINE MACY

28 YOU YOU DEVELOPMENT

KERUN IP

THIS MASSIVE MIXED-USE PROJECT BY B+H EXEMPLIFIES THE TYPICAL PROCESS OF DESIGN AND
CONSTRUCTION TAKING PLACE IN SHANGHAIS CURRENT CLIMATE OF TERRIFYINGLY RAPID
DEVELOPMENT. TEXT DAVID STEINER

STEVEN EVANS

STEVEN EVANS

STEVEN EVANS

CONTENTS

11 NEWS
Raymond Moriyama appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada; winners of
the Canada Council for the Arts architecture awards announced.

14 REPORT
Alan Boniface provides details of the contentious EcoDensity initiative in Vancouver that seeks to address climate change
issues as they relate to city-building.

34 TECHNICAL
Douglas MacLeod asserts that Building
Information Modelling could be the most
important development in CAD, transforming our approach to design and documentation.

37 CALENDAR
Shanghai Kaleidoscope exhibition at the
Royal Ontario Museum; 10th Docomomo
conference on the Heritage of the Modern
Movement.

38 BACKPAGE
Leslie Jen reviews the Sacred Space exhibition at Torontos York Quay Centre.

UPEI SCHOOL OF BUSINESS BY MACKAYLYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH N46 ARCHITECTURE AND DAVID
PREMI ARCHITECT INC. PHOTOGRAPH BY
STEVEN EVANS.

COVER
AUGUST 2008, V.53 N.08

THE NATIONAL REVIEW OF DESIGN AND PRACTICE/


THE JOURNAL OF RECORD OF THE RAIC

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

p08 Viewpoint

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COURTESY CITY OF VANCOUVER

VIEWPOINT

EDITOR
IAN CHODIKOFF, OAA, MRAIC
ASSOCIATE EDITOR
LESLIE JEN, MRAIC
EDITORIAL ADVISORS
JOHN MCMINN, AADIPL.
MARCO POLO, OAA, MRAIC
CHARLES WALDHEIM, OALA(HON.), FAAR
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
GAVIN AFFLECK, OAQ, MRAIC
HERBERT ENNS, MAA, MRAIC
DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB
ABOVE ARBUTUS WALK IS AN EXAMPLE OF A HIGH-DENSITY MIXED-USE COMMUNITY THAT UPHOLDS
THE TENETS OF VANCOUVERS ECODENSITY CHARTER.

During a speech in 1967, Prime Minister Lester


B. Pearson said, Urbanization with all its problems has become the dominant social and economic condition of Canadian life. Pearson knew
very well that a lack of adequate tax revenue and a
poorly defined accountability structure between
levels of government had exacerbated problems
in many Canadian citiesproblems such as housing, traffic, pollution, poverty and urban sprawl.
Over 40 years later, despite the rhetoric of subsequent political figures who pretend to be concerned about the fate of our cities, federal and
provincial politicians continue to hold our
municipalities hostage, stifling their abilities to
devise financially innovative ways to raise money
and fund a long list of projects, the result of
which ultimately affects the health of the architectural profession.
Many of the difficulties inherent in the ability
of our cities to raise sufficient revenue to finance
and support new initiatives are convincingly discussed in Alan Broadbents recently published
book Urban Nation, which argues for a redefinition of municipal powers given to Canadas
largest cities while noting that existing political
and legal systems (some dating back to the time
of Confederation) inhibit funding for new construction in our urban centres. Despite these
obstacles, there continue to be initiatives such as
Vancouvers EcoDensity Charter that attempt to
circumvent the perennial challenges of limited
revenue-earning powers granted to municipalities. Unanimously adopted by Vancouver City
Council on June 10th, the EcoDensity Charter is a
procedural tool designed to promote a variety of
sustainable issues ranging from public transit to
affordable housing (see page 14). Incentives such
as the Interim EcoDensity Rezoning Policy help
encourage urban-intensifying projects so long as
they achieve a minimum LEED Silver rating.
Vancouvers EcoDensity Charter is intended to
serve as a performance-basedrather than a
checklist-basedapproach to sustainable development. Inherent in the EcoDensity plan is the
support of housing in Vancouver in a variety of
ways, such as the provision of affordable housing
and sufficient rental properties. Other initiatives
8 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

that the City wants to encourage include, for


example, its ongoing policy for laneway housing,
as well as the removal of zoning and other barriers preventing the existence of secondary suites
in single-family houses.
Beyond incentives associated with small-scale
urban infill projects, EcoDensity promotes other
more impactful initiatives that introduce a more
varied, sustainable and affordable range of housing in all areas of the city, such as the Housing
Demonstration Policy or the Neighbourhood
Centres Program, which is located in 18 citydefined areas and which encourage higherdensity housing. Additionally, new large-scale
developments like Southeast False Creek and the
East Fraserlands are being touted as models for
EcoDensity development, which collectively feature sustainable architecture, renewable energy,
water management, fish and wildlife habitat
enhancement, and urban agriculture. Without the
help of the provincial or federal governments to
support Vancouvers EcoDensity, there may not
be enough economic clout backing the political
will. As land and construction costs continue to
rise, somebody has to make up for the roughly
25% shortfall in financing typically required to
make a non-market housing initiative viable.
Without additional political support, the longterm fate of the EcoDensity Charter may be in
jeopardy. EcoDensity was the 2006 initiative of
current Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, whose
political party, the Non-Partisan Association
(NPA), is headed for a municipal election this
fall, albeit without Sullivan as the mayoral candidate. In early June, the NPA voted to change its
leadership. Thanks to the support of Vancouvers
downtown business establishment, NPA councillor Peter Ladner narrowly beat the incumbent
Sullivan by a margin of only 80 votes1,066
to 986.
What remains to be seen is how Vancouver, a
municipality granted limited revenue-earning
opportunities, can afford to leverage its EcoDensity Charter to create a higher-density city
approaching carbon neutrality, and to decrease
its reliance on fossil fuels.
IAN CHODIKOFF

ICHODIKOFF@CANADIANARCHITECT.COM

REGIONAL CORRESPONDENTS
HALIFAX CHRISTINE MACY, OAA
MONTREAL DAVID THEODORE
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11:44 AM

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p11-12 News

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NEWS
PROJECTS

The Joggins Fossil Centre by WHW Architects


Inc. is sited on the recently designated UNESCO
World Heritage Site of Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a
689-hectare palaeontological site along the
coast of Nova Scotia that boasts a wealth of
fossils from the Carboniferous period (354 to
290 million years ago). The site chosen for
the Centre was the location of a coal mine that
had existed from as early as 1650 until 1961.
The mine had been the raison dtre for the
town of Joggins, and the cultural legacy the
mining history represents is entwined with
the geologic history. Both aspects are reflected
and interpreted in the Centre, as the plan, form
and materials of the building derive expressly
from the cliffs and the mine. In addressing
sustainability issues, the Fossil Centre utilizes
a number of strategies to reduce operating
costs such as the employment of innovative
energy technologies and sources. The Centre
uses 38% less energy than a comparable traditional building, as 20% of the construction
material is from recycled sources, nearly
25% of which was harvested or manufactured
locally. The rate and quantity of storm water
leaving the site have both been reduced
compared to the pre-development state, and
the quantities of suspended solids and phosphorus in that water have been reduced by
80% and 50% respectively. The amount of
water collected from the roof for non-potable
use represents many times the Centres actual
water requirement. Measuring 13,250 square
feet in total, the Fossil Centre cost $5.2 million
to construct, and opened in May of 2008.
It was recently awarded a Nova Scotia Association of Architects Lieutenant Governors Medal
of Excellence.

WHW ARCHITECTS

Joggins Fossil Centre located on UNESCO


World Heritage Site.

Winners of the Nova Scotia Association of


Architects Lieutenant Governors Design
Awards announced.

Two Lieutenant Governors Medals of Excellence


were given to WHW Architects Inc. for the Joggins
Fossil Centre, and to Susan Fitzgerald for the
Home on Elm Street in Halifax. Two Awards of
Merit were given to WHW Architects Inc.
(Architect of Record) and Maclennan Jaulkans
Miller Architects (Collaborating Architect) for the
Summerside Wellness Centre in PEI, and to
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects for the
Brock University Plaza Building. MacKay-Lyons
Sweetapple Architects were also given two
Citations for Regan House and for the Creighton
Street Townhouses. Two additional Citations were
given to Kenneth J. Dacey & Associated Architects
for the Hollis Street Gate at Government House,
and to William Nycum & Associates for the HFX
Airport Arrivals Escalator Replacement, Enfield.
Lastly, an Honourable Mention was awarded to
Solterre Design Inc. for the Tack Shop.

AWARDS

Winners of the Canada Council for the Arts


architecture awards announced.

Raymond Moriyama appointed as a


Companion of the Order of Canada.

The Canada Council for the Arts announced that


Toronto landscape architect Pierre Blanger is
the winner of the Professional Prix de Rome in
Architecture for 2008, and that WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON of Toronto has won the Ronald J.
Thom Award for Early Design Achievement. The
Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture, valued at $50,000, is awarded to a young architect or
practitioner of architecture, an architecture firm
or an architectural design firm that has completed its first buildings and demonstrated exceptional artistic potential. Blangers project
will explore the reciprocity between water systems and mass urbanization around the world.
He will travel to three critical regions in Asia,
Europe and the Middle East to investigate how
the field of landscape architecture can contribute

On July 1, 2008, Her Excellency the Right


Honourable Michalle Jean, Governor General
of Canada, announced 75 new appointments to
the Order of Canada. On the recommendation
of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada,
she announced that Raymond Moriyama of
Toronto was appointed as a Companion of the
Order of Canada for his contributions to the
field of architecture, and for inspiring a new
generation of young architects through his
designs of some of Canadas most innovative
urban structures. The 75 new appointees
include five Companions (C.C.), 26 Officers
(O.C.), and 43 Members (C.M.), as well as one
Honorary Officer.

ABOVE THE JOGGINS FOSSIL CENTRE OVERLOOKS THE FAMOUS SEASIDE CLIFFS LOCATED
ON THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED UNESCO
WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN JOGGINS, NOVA
SCOTIA.

to watershed change. A landscape architect and


Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture,
Landscape and Design at the University of
Toronto, Blanger focuses on the converging
fields of landscape, infrastructure and urbanism.
The Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design
Achievement was established in 1990. The
$10,000 prize is awarded every two years to a
candidate in the early stages of his or her career
who demonstrates outstanding talent or potential
in architectural design and a sensitivity to architectures allied arts, crafts and professions, including landscape, interior and furniture design,
and decorative and graphic arts. The projects of
this years laureate, WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON,
range from furniture and installations to buildings and urban proposals. WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC. is a Toronto-based architecture and design studio founded in 2002 by Betsy
Williamson and Shane Williamson, Associate
Professor at the University of Torontos Faculty of
Architecture, Landscape and Design.
Design Exchange Awards Call for Entries.

The Design Exchange Awards, presented by


Canadian Business, promotes Canadian design
excellence and recognizes the critical role of
design in all types of organizations including
commercial entities (large and small), not-forprofit organizations, and the public sector. The
Awards celebrate the success stories achieved
through close partnerships between clients and
designers. A jury of leading business executives,
designers and community leaders will select
Award of Excellence and Award of Merit winners
in each of the 12 categories, with one project
08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

11

p11-12 News

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winning Best of Category in each. DXA winners


will be listed in Canadian Businesss best-selling
December issue (the annual Rich 100 edition),
and featured in a major exhibition at the Design
Exchange. The submission deadline is September
26, 2008.
www.dx.org/dxa/index.html

WHATS NEW
Experience tomorrows architecture today
at IIDEX/Neocon Canada 2008.

IIDEX/NeoCon Canada 2008 will premiere a


unique lineup of special exhibits on all aspects of
architecture including Canhome, a cutting-edge
travelling exhibit on sustainable living; a sustainable health-care pavilion and symposium featuring a 400-square-foot Green Patient Room
designed by Anshen + Allen Architects; Material
World, a 1,000-square-foot hands-on material
library curated by Material Connexion; and the
launch of Light Canada, Canadas largest lighting
expo and conference with over 100 exhibitors,
sponsored by the IES Toronto Section. On the
education front, the 2008 show will be another
blockbuster year with more learning opportunities for architects such as: Architecture Keynote
Kim Herforth Nielsen, international awardwinning partner and principal architect of
Danish firm 3XN Architects; over 100 CEUaccredited seminars including Strategies for
Sustainable Facilities, Toronto Apartment Tower

Renewal Projects, LEEDEB Case Study, Driving


Down Energy Costs, OBC Alternative Solutions,
BIM, Building Beyond LEED, International RetailA Global Perspective on Trends and Concepts, The Lies LEDs Have Told Me, Universal
Design, Driving Down Energy Costs, Greening
the Patient Experience, DBFM Case Study,
Succession Planning, and a special workshop by
Innovation Keynote Jeremy Gutsche on How to
Reinvent your Architecture Firm. Toronto Society
of Architects (TSA)-sponsored exhibits and
events include the Unbuilt Toronto book launch,
exhibit and seminar; TSA poster competition
winners; Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
and Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
(RAIC) Awards exhibit; a career exchange for
architecture students; and new for 2008, an
architecture student charrette. Additionally,
there will be hundreds of new products on display from around the world for interior, exterior,
commercial and residential applications.
www.iidexneocon.com/2008/
Canadian contributions to the 2008 Venice
Biennale 11th International Architecture
Exhibition.

Three significant contributions will represent


Canada at the 2008 Venice Biennale 11th International Architecture Exhibition. This years
Biennale, entitled Out There: Architecture Beyond
Building, takes place from September 14 to
November 23, 2008 in Venice, Italy. 41 to 66:

Architecture in CanadaRegion, Culture, Tectonics,


an exhibition co-curated by architectural professors John McMinn (University of Waterloo) and
Marco Polo (Ryerson University) and organized
by Cambridge Galleries, presents a selection of
contemporary buildings organized within six distinct cultural and geographic regions of Canada.
A second contribution to the 2008 Biennale
involves An Te Liu, a member of the Faculty of
Architecture, Landscape and Design at the
University of Toronto, who has been commissioned to create an installation for a group exhibition at the Corderie of the Arsenale in Venice.
The exhibition is comprised of the work of 18
international architects and designers including
Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn, UN Studio, Droog, Coop
Himmelb(l)au, Asymptote, and MVRDV. And the
third Canadian contribution to the 2008 Architecture Biennale is also a commission to the
group exhibition at the Corderie dellArsenale
an interactive multimedia environment involving
Montreal-based new media designer Chris
Salter, a member of the Faculty of Fine Arts at
Concordia University, in collaboration with San
Francisco-based designer Erik Adigard of
M-A-D. Betsky selected the project due to Salter
and Adigards collaborative work on the international scene in the areas of graphic design,
new media and interactive environmentsa key
strategy in Betskys examining of the theme of
architecture beyond building.
www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/

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p13 Ads

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p14-15 Report

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REPORT

BUSBY PERKINS + WILL

VANCOUVERS QUEST FOR ECODENSITY

TOP BUSBY PERKINS+WILL CONSIDERS INCREASED DENSITY WITHIN THE CITY AS AN INTEGRAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE OUR IMPACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE. THIS SKETCH ILLUSTRATES HOW DEVELOPMENT
ALONG VANCOUVERS CANADA LINE CAN EVENTUALLY RESPOND TO THE ADJACENT URBAN CONTEXT WHERE LEVELS OF DENSITY CORRESPOND TO EACH NODE/RAIL STATION. AT A LENGTH OF
NEARLY 19 KILOMETRES, THE CANADA LINE WILL BE AN AUTOMATED RAIL-BASED RAPID TRANSIT SERVICE CONNECTING VANCOUVER WITH CENTRAL RICHMOND AND THE VANCOUVER AIRPORT. IT IS
EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETE BY 2009.

ECODENSITY, VANCOUVERS PLAN TO HELP


DENSIFY AND DECREASE ITS ENVIRONMENTAL
FOOTPRINT, IS NOT WITHOUT ITS CHALLENGES,
DETRACTORS AND FAULTS.

TEXT

ALAN BONIFACE

Vancouver is often regarded as a city that made


the right decisions; dense urban living, no freeways, miles of public waterfront and a walkable
and liveable downtown. So when Mayor Sam
Sullivan set out to engage the citizenry in an
exercise that sought to add an ecological component to the citys longstanding acceptance of
downtown density, one would have assumed that
the debate would have been fairly one-sided.
Observers would likely surmise that Vancouvers
laid-back sandal-clad beach crowd would be ripe
for action. Reality has embraced a different
stereotype; one of a city and province split along
political and philosophical lines. The endeavour
has exposed that many Vancouverites have proven
no less short-sighted or unwilling to tackle the
most significant issue of our time in a determined and meaningful manner than most other
Canadians and much of the nations leadership.
However, recent moves by British Columbias,
Ontarios and Quebecs premiers are signs of an
important shift.
EcoDensity is a well-reasoned proposal. It is
an ambitious document which captures a series
of initiatives undertaken by the Vancouver Planning Department under the direction of the
Mayor and Council. The draft Charter lays out a
series of neighbourhood planning and building
regulations to be implemented over the next few
years that seek to address climate change issues
14 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

as they relate to city-building and with a specific


focus on density as the vehicle to deliver compact, walkable communities with smaller footprints. It is premised on the fact that climate
change represents the most significant environmental, economic, social, liveability and qualityof-life threat to the citys future. It sets out initiatives to manage change, to choose and design
our future, in the face of these threats. It establishes sustainable strategies for transportation
and parking, green energy and waste systems,
affordable housing, parks and the public realm,
food systems and urban agriculture, heritage
conservation and urban health.
The ultimate threshold is carbon neutrality in
all buildings by 2030, but carbon targets and
other numeric measures are not specified, representing a potential weakness of the document in
the minds of some.
Among these, it is the density component
that has spurred the most debate. Density has
triggered a plethora of fear-based responses. The
discussion, therefore, has strayed from purely
intellectual discourse to positions often centred
upon ones opinion of the politics of the Mayors
office. With this as a contributing factor to the
Mayors demise, the adaptation of EcoDensity, in
policy terms, remains a very open question leading into Vancouvers fall municipal elections.
One cant help but be amazed at the preponderance of NIMBYism and the seemingly endless
biological imperative of humans to protect the
here and now in the face of daunting, perhaps
catastrophic change. And similarly, how local
politicians have turned on the Mayor irrespective
of the merits of the initiative, in an aggressive
and at times disrespectful attempt to discredit

him. This acrimony has occurred, despite overwhelming evidence about the benefitsboth
socially and ecologicallyof appropriately considered increased density and its profound realization in Vancouver itself, where it has been
illustrated that density can be dramatically increased with a simultaneous reduction in car
traffic, commuters and crime rates. This is a
well-documented phenomenon of the downtown.
In specific terms, this can be seen in statistics
produced by Environment Canada, which has
noted that Vancouver is the only Canadian city
with declining commute times, due in part to
40% of downtown residents using public transit.
An additional 25 to 30% walk or bike to work.
Moreover, an important element is that design
regulations have required that fully 25% of new
units in the downtown are designed for families.
Contrast this with its sister city Seattle, where
downtown units for families make up only 6% of
new housing.
The result is that Vancouver residents seem
supportive of density on the downtown peninsula,
but not in the pristine grassy backyards of the
citys other neighbourhoods, where densities can
be as low as 2 units per acre. Which is not to suggest that this is the ultimate destination of
EcoDensity as the rhetoric might suggest. Indeed,
recent revisions to the draft Charter are profound
in their attempts at integrating public input,
addressing misinformation and providing aggressive methods for carbon reduction. The City is
poised, for example, to incorporate in its official
language the statement that it will make environmental sustainability a primary consideration in
decisions about density, design and land use.
Additionally, the revised draft includes specific
language about mandating greener performance,
not bonusing it, and a directive to require all
buildings to be LEED Gold-equivalent by 2010.
A lack of clear communication of the intent of
the initiative and the lack of an emergent champion beyond the Mayor has caused delay but also
pause for important public input. As the document evolves as the result of public engagement
and dialogue, it has become clear that the current
21 components of the plan will require both
strong direction and strong political leadership
to manifest its important goals.
Vancouveritesand indeed the nationappear
to be postponing and politicizing a decision that
requires quick and meaningful action. Despite
the obvious problems associated with urban
sprawl and the negative effects of inaction, the
City along with many Vancouverites seem unable
to set aside historic divisions or self-serving
views, blissfully ignoring the fact that Vancouver
is using 300 times its own footprint ecologically
and thus contributing heavily to the global prob-

7/23/08

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Page 15

lem. The truth, seldom noted in the success story


that is Vancouver, is that suburban growth has far
outpaced the seemingly endless pace of rising
towers in the downtown core.
The rhetoric has at times been extreme, as
exemplified in this statement from one opponent: The development industry is salivating at
EcoDensity because it basically gives them
bonusing for putting in a green roof or putting in
a flower garden. Many have accused the current
City administration of a hidden agenda. The
accusations range from the pursuit of a developer-focused profit-oriented agenda on the one
hand, to an ideology focused on bulldozing single-family homes and instituting a draconian
LEED reality on the other. Clearly, there is always
emotion and polarized positions in important
debates, but in a city where the Downtown
Eastside remains the most impoverished part of
the country, the degree to which energy and credence is spent on such views is disquieting.
To this point, with the initiative still awaiting
Councils approval, the design and development
community is testing the waters with very little
certainty as to what a projects green initiatives
might mean or cost. The current version of the
draft has sufficient teeth to make meaningful
change if applied, promoted and supported by
the community. The proof, however, will be in
the communitys willingness to see the big picture and create leadership with follow-through.
Upcoming projects which will put EcoDensity to
the test include a reworking of the Arbutus
Village commercial area on the west side, and the
large provincial renewal of the Little Mountain
housing development on the east side. Previous
initiatives which have collided with the beginnings of EcoDensity include a housing project in
the Dunbar neighbourhood which spawned the
insanely titled EcoPreservation organization,
and the Norquay project which called for slightly
increased housing densities along Vancouvers
Kingsway corridor, the most logical destination
for density in the city.
If architects are to participate significantly in
the realization of EcoDensity, there needs to be a
recognition of the role of bold, reasoned communication. Where is this larger role in the
EcoDensity debate? Why is it that the design community and consumers can support outrageously
consumptive icons of design which evidence no
intention of a sustainable economy of means?
Where is the urgency from the profession and
equally, from the highest levels of government?
Certainly, there are some younger developers and
many designers pushing in the right direction in
Vancouver. Robert Brown, a local green proponent, and Mark Sheih have initiated small projects, but no one has emerged from the more
established firms. Windmill Development has
produced Dockside in Victoria and is initiating
projects across the country, but not, notably in

PHOTO COURTESY CONCERT PROPERTIES

p14-15 Report

ABOVE THE ARBUTUS NEIGHBOURHOOD IN KITSILANO IS A PIVOTAL EXAMPLE OF RESIDENTIAL INTENSIFICATION. THE REDEVELOPMENT OF A FORMER BREWERY AND SEVERAL FACTORIES HAS CREATED A
MEDIUM-DENSITY, LOW- TO MID-RISE PRECINCT ADJACENT TO A WELL-ESTABLISHED NEIGHBOURHOOD CONSISTING OF PRIMARILY ONE- AND TWO-FAMILY DWELLINGS.

Vancouver. Peter Busby has produced a well-conceived commentary on EcoDensity, but overall
these initiatives remain the minority.
Whether one promotes consensus or a topdown approach, the latter is likely to be the only
viable method for quick action in order to avert
significant climate-induced problems. In this era
of minority governments and carefully scripted
speeches, it is difficult to see how any leader
professional or politicalwould be able to take
the strong stance required (witness the politically
safe US election debates and the paralyzing platform espoused by our federal government).
EcoDensity is a current example of this as it
shifts from strong idea to strong policy and perhapsdepending on the outcome of the upcoming municipal electionto nothing more than a
lengthy debate. In the meantime, the city has
produced 6.8 million additional tons of carbon,
and the region 38.4 million tons.
The reality is that the current City administration has waded into politically fraught territory in
pursuit of some fairly benign goals. As Trevor
Boddy has noted, There is little a guilty SUVdriver or even a Northern Alberta oil sands operator could not sign on to.
The Mayor, Council and staff have initiated a
debate into which all Canadians must enter,
especially at the local level, and moreover have
done the heavy lifting for the outlying municipalities most of whom have much less desire to walk
a green walk through their predominantly singlefamily neighbourhoods.
Where does this leave the debate as the municipal election and the final draft of the EcoDensity

Charter near? Brent Toderian, the Citys recent


ascendant to the Director of Planning throne, has
been the one charged with shepherding
EcoDensity through two years of public and
internal debate. He has inherited not only a
loosely defined policy statement, but the very
large boots of the former Director, Larry Beasley.
It is an unenviable position. Given this, Toderian
and his team have done a remarkable job. The
Citys recent seven nights of public input illustrated nothing if not a growing knowledge base
attributable to the debate, a truly positive sign. It
also illustrated some of the likely implications;
for affordable housing, for pressures on local
amenities, and for a rethinking of the way the city
conceives of its neighbourhoods, its travel patterns, its food distribution and its energy use.
EcoDensity is, at its core, a plan to direct a city
and its inhabitants through a domain of imminent change with the goal of ensuring its ability
to thrive, if not actually survive. As long as citizens remain preoccupied with a vision of the
world as beginning and ending with their own
life span rather than the shaping of its future,
they will not be able to truly debate an issue like
EcoDensity with the critical mindset necessary to
judge its applicability. The debate rages on,
which is a great start, but the community and the
nation need a stronger voice. Perhaps a voice
intent on defying an apathetic body politic will
rise up, as our most animated Prime Minister
once did, and say, Just watch me. CA
Alan Boniface is a partner in Hotson Bakker Boniface
Haden architects + urbanistes in Vancouver.
08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

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Page 18

PARTICIPACTION

THREE RECENT UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS LED BY MACKAY-LYONS


SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS ILLUSTRATE THE PARTICIPATORY DESIGN
PROCESS ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES IN CANADA.

NSCAD UNIVERSITY PORT CAMPUS,


HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
PROJECTS

PLAZA 2006 BUILDING, BROCK UNIVERSITY, SAINT


CATHARINES, ONTARIO
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, UPEI, CHARLOTTETOWN,
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
CHRISTINE MACY
STEVEN EVANS, UNLESS OTHERWISE
NOTED

TEXT

PHOTOS

18 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

Architects like to talk about their designs in


terms of intentionswhat they hope to achieve in
a building, and how they make sense of it, particularly to other architects. But if we think about
architecture like some critics think about cinema
or other art forms, the notion of reception is an
interesting one. How does the general public see
and experience architecture? How do they make
sense of it?
One name for this is reception theory, and
generally it only appears in architectural discus-

sions as post-occupancy evaluations, when


inhabitants are interviewed once a building is
complete. But what if the public could contribute
their views to a work being designedwhen a
building is still just a program, full of expectations and hopes for a certain use and site?
In this article, Id like to explore the juncture
where architect and end user meet. One critical
area where this happens is in the very first
encounter between an architect and a user, an
encounter that in some offices is given a primary

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UPEI School of Business, University of


Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island (2008)

WITH ITS GLAZED FAADES, SOUTH-FACING TERRACE AND A SIMPLE MATERIAL PALETTE
ACKNOWLEDGING THE EXISTING BRICK BUILDINGS ON CAMPUS, THE NEW SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND IS BOTH AN INVITING AND FRIENDLY EDUCATIONAL
FACILITY FOR STUDENTS. TOP FACILITATING SOCIAL INTERACTION AMONGST STUDENTS, THE INTERIOR CORRIDORS OF THE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS OFFER IMPROMPTU PLACES TO MEET WHILE MAXIMIZING OPPORTUNITIES TO CAPTURE THE MARITIME LIGHT.
OPPOSITE

place in the design process. This is participatory


design.
Participatory design has a history that goes
back to the 1970s, when landscape architect
Lawrence Halprin developed a collective creative
workshop process he called Take Part planning.
Its innovation was in being participatory and
cyclical rather than hierarchical and linear.1
Charles Moore, an early collaborator of Halprins,
was influenced by Take Part planning, in developing his own approach to participatory design.2

Moores advocacy of user participation in the


design process influenced a whole generation of
designers. One of these, Brian MacKay-Lyons of
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects (MLSA),
brought these lessons to his own work and has
increasingly employed them over the past decade
in public commissions. Of his former teacher, he
writes: In the late 1980s, the American architect
Charles Moore said that the only architectural
truth that he had discovered was that participatory design always works.3

The School of Business at the University of Prince


Edward Island involves a new building carefully
sited near a former university residence, Marian
Hall, also renovated as part of the project. The
new addition was placed to create two new courtyards framed by existing buildings, effectively
extending the network of quadrangles on the
UPEI campus.
The Centre for Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
is comprised of a pair of lecture theatres flanked
by double-height hallways filled with daylight. A
Market Street to the east serves as an informal
meeting place for students and faculty, while the
public atrium at the buildings southern entrance, Schurman Market Square, accommodates ceremonies and larger events. The renovated Marian Hall contains offices and meeting
rooms for the school and other organizations.
At the outset of the project, the university had
completed its programming and even developed a
preliminary scheme, which they used to prepare
their Request for Proposals, expecting firms to
follow suit. Yet from the very beginning, MLSA
were critical of this scheme. They were concerned that its block-like massing didnt take
into account the quadrangles, an important feature of the campus plan they felt should be
strengthened.
For this reason, MacKay-Lyons and Sweetapple
used the first site planning workshop to step
back and look at the larger campus. They showed
that the existing School of Business corridors
framed a quadrangle and that if the new building
was oriented a certain way, it would reinforce this
and strengthen the quadrangle idea over the
entire campus. According to associated architect
David Lopes of North 46 Architecture, Thats
how they got away from the original design concept that everyone had signed on for.
Subsequent participatory design sessions covered a wide range of issues with many different
constituents and user groups. The major building design session was directed towards School
of Business members. The goal was to have an
exchange about design ideas with School faculty,
but these sessions also had to work out classroom
numbers, sizes and seat count. Lopes reflected,
When someone is hired to do a job in PEI, people are ready to be asked for technical feedback,
but not qualitative issues.
Although the audio-visual and acoustic sessions were strictly informational, the LEED session conducted in collaboration with consultants
Enermodal enjoyed a vigourous back-and-forth
dialogue with knowledgeable facilities management staff from the university. One result is a
well-developed mechanical design strategy for
the facility, utilizing geothermal heating and
cooling in radiant floors, abundant daylighting in
all spaces, and sensor-activated switches in hallways and washrooms.
08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

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NSCAD University Port Campus, Halifax,


Nova Scotia (2006-07)

TOP MARKET STREET, AN ACTIVE STUDENT SPACE AT THE UPEI SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, PROVIDES
INFORMAL TABLES AT WHICH TO WORK OR MEET, AS WELL AS ACCESS TO THE REQUISITE BREAKOUT MEETING ROOMS FOUND IN MANY BUSINESS SCHOOLS. ABOVE ENTITLED MARKET SQUARE,
THIS NORMALLY ACTIVE STUDENT LOUNGE PROVIDES A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS TO
NETWORK BETWEEN CLASSES.

20 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

The new Port Campus for NSCAD University


(formerly the Nova Scotia College of Art and
Design) was carved out of a continuous industrial
shed that forms Pier 21 on the Halifax waterfront.
With the construction of modern terminals in the
1980s, this area was largely neglected until the
creation of the Pier 21 Immigration Museum in
1990 (designed by Lydon Lynch Architects).
Since then, much of this industrial district has
been renovatedfor cruise ships, artisan studios,
and retail spaces. In 2005, NSCAD University
arranged for a long-term lease of a section of the
pier building, ensuring space for expansion.
Before preparing their Request for Proposals,
NSCAD worked out the users of the new facility,
mostly departments displaced from their former
homes in historic buildings downtown. The
largest cohort included the equipment-intensive
crafts (such as ceramics, foundry, sculpture and
metal shop), that couldnt be moved into the colleges other facilities. This core group would be
augmented by the Colleges Foundation Program
and Continuing Education, and possibly other
craft departments as well. NSCAD had also gone
through a year-long planning exercise with
Education Space Consultants from Toronto, to
identify their space requirements, and they
incorporated this document into their RFP.
After MLSA was hired in late 2005, one big
meeting in November got everything off to a start.
People were divided into groups of 10 persons at
each table, with a mix of disciplines represented,
along with one university administrator and one
architect. MLSA had prepared three boards with
footprints of the existing building and rough
floor plates for the upper floors. They had
colour-coded the program functions (as lecture,
office/administration, studio, or support space)
and scaled them to the floor plates. At this point
in the process, says MacKay-Lyons, the program
is incomplete and atomistic. The aim of the
workshop, according to MLSA partner Talbot
Sweetapple, is to look for adjacencies, what goes
where, how it should be organized, and to figure
out what makes an art school, in terms of its
identity.
After two hours of work arranging the blocks in
various ways, the groups gathered together to
review the results. Certain commonly held
assumptions had emerged: 1) the heavy-duty
shops should be located on the main floor to
facilitate the movement of goods; 2) faculty
offices should be clustered near their teaching
areas (a decision that would distribute faculty
over all three levels); and 3) the vast unencumbered space of the warehouse shed was seen as a
positive aspect, not to be carved up to replicate
the small rooms of the schools historic downtown campus. In Sweetapples words, the big
ideas for the building developed very quickly,
through widespread consensus on the basic
moves. After the workshop, MLSA took the

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PROJECT UPEI NEW SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE


EDWARD ISLAND
ARCHITECTS MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS LTD. (DESIGN
ARCHITECTS AND PRIME CONSULTANTS) IN ASSOCIATION WITH N46
ARCHITECTURE AND DAVID PREMI ARCHITECT INC.
CLIENT UNIVERSITY OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
ARCHITECT TEAM BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS, TALBOT SWEETAPPLE, KEVIN
REID, CHAD JAMIESON, DAVID LOPES, EDITH GRANDBOIS, ERIC STOTTS,
JASON WARD, MATT SEEGMILLER, RAOUL KLUGE, GREG RICHARDSON,
DIANA CARL, SAWA ROSTKOWSKA, MARCIN SZTABA, JEFF ATCHISON
STRUCTURAL HARLAND & ASSOCIATES
MECHANICAL MCA CONSULTANTS
ELECTRICAL RICHARDSON CONSULTANTS
LANDSCAPE EKISTICS PLANNING & DESIGN
INTERIORS MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS
CONTRACTOR MARCO MARITIMES LTD.
ACOUSTICS ACOUSTICS CONSULTANTS
ENVELOPE BALANCED SOLUTIONS INC.
AREA 22,500 FT2 (NEW), 26,000 FT2 (RENOVATION)
BUDGET $9.6 M
COMPLETION JANUARY 2008

boards back to their office to draw up the


schematic design.
This design workshop was followed by many,
many others specific to certain programs,
departments, operational, and facilities issues,
held with the architects, engineers, project managers and members of the college. Public meetings had as many as 500 people, while smaller
working sessions ranged from several dozen participants to one-on-one conversations in coffee
shops. Artists, says NSCADs Academic VicePresident Barbara Lounder, are not by inclination used to the participatory process, preferring
rather to forge ahead on their own. A big part of
why we liked MacKay-Lyons Sweetapples proposal was their willingness to work with artists
and really learn about their needs and requirementsthat we really appreciated.
The renovated building provides a 6,503square-metre new Port Campus, serving as the
primary academic centre for first-year students
and housing the industrial crafts programs. It
maintains the spacious feeling of the original
sheds, with six-metre-high ceilings and abundant daylighting. An uninterrupted view of the
harbour from the seafront workshops and studios
along 53 metres of glass curtain wall is among the
best in Halifax. The street side of the building is
clad in inconspicuous metal siding, in keeping
with the industrial aesthetic of the district and to
shield artists from the curious gaze of cruise-ship
passengers heading toward the citys waterfront
boardwalk.

UPEI LONGITUDINAL SECTION AA

11
A

A
12

13

13

14

UPEI PLAN LEVEL 2

NORTH-EAST QUAD

4
3
3

5
6

SOUTH-WEST QUAD

A
7

9
UPEI PLAN LEVEL 1
1 MARKET SQUARE
2 SOUTH TERRACE
3 MARIAN HALL BOARDROOMS
4 OFFICES
5 MARKET STREET
6 BREAKOUT ROOMS
7 BREAKOUT STUDY BENCH

10 10

2
1
0

50

8 LECTURE THEATRE
9 WEST HALL
10 TIERED CLASSROOMS
11 MEZZANINE
12 LECTURE THEATRE
13 CLASSROOMS
14 STUDY

Plaza 2006 Building, Brock University,


Saint Catharines, Ontario (2001-05)

This project, for Brock University in the Niagara


region of Ontario, had its start in 2004 under the
chancellorship of the architect Raymond
Moriyama. The initial brief called for two buildings to be located directly south of Moriyama &
Teshima Architects Mackenzie Chown Complex
and Taro Hall, adjacent to his Alumni Student
Centre. One was to be a 4,100-square-metre
Campus Store Building that would serve as a
gateway to the campus, linking to the Student
Centre on multiple levels. A second 2,800square-metre Lifespan Development Research
Centre was planned for an adjacent site connected to the Mackenzie Chown Complex. The buildings were to be let out as a single design contract,

UPEI SITE PLAN

350

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

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MLS ARCHITECTS

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ALVIN COMITER

PROGRAMMATIC DIAGRAM

NSCAD SITE PLAN

TOP LOCATED IN THE UPPER LEFT OF THE PHOTOGRAPH, PARTNER


TALBOT SWEETAPPLE OVERSEES A PARTICIPATORY DESIGN SESSION
WITH NSCAD STUDENTS AND FACULTY TO DETERMINE THE FINAL
SHAPE OF THE NEW DESIGN SCHOOL. MIDDLE A NIGHT VIEW OF THE
NEW NSCAD UNIVERSITY PORT CAMPUS CAPTURES THE REAR OF THE
BUILDING. ABOVE LOOKING OUT AT HALIFAX HARBOUR, THE NSCAD
UNIVERSITY PORT CAMPUS MAINTAINS A WAREHOUSE/PIER ARCHITECTURAL AESTHETIC.

22 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

350

PROJECT NSCAD UNIVERSITY PORT CAMPUS, HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA


ARCHITECT MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS
CLIENT NSCAD UNIVERSITY
LEED CONSULTANT ENERMODAL ENGINEERING
ARCHITECT TEAM BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS, TALBOT
ENVIRONMENTAL JACQUES WHITFORD
SWEETAPPLE, ERIC STOTTS, KEVIN REID, SAWA ROSTKOWSKA,
CODE DOUGLAS WHITE
MELANIE HAYNE, EDITH GRANDBOIS, MARC MACCAULL, JEFF
ENVELOPE HALSALL ASSOCIATES LIMITED
ATCHISON, JASON WARD, PETER BLACKIE, MORGAN CARTER,
FIRE RJ BARTLETT ASSOCIATES LIMITED
ALEX BOLEN, GREG RICHARDSON
GENERAL CONTRACTOR PCL CONSTRUCTORS
STRUCTURAL CAMPBELL COMEAU ENGINEERING
CANADA
MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL FC ONEILL SCRIVEN AND
AREA 2,000 FT2
ASSOCIATES
BUDGET $10 M
CIVIL OHALLORAN CAMPBELL CONSULTANTS LIMITED
COMPLETION SEPTEMBER 2007
COSTING HANSCOMB LIMITED

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Page 23

and were envisioned as key elements in campus


expansion southwards. The raised pedestrian
circulation system continues a network that is
well-established at Brock.
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple was selected as the
design architect, in association with Rounthwaite
Dick and Hadley Architects (RDH). At the outset
of the project in the summer of 2004, they held
two design workshops at Brock: one for site planning, followed by a building workshop the day
after. In the first of these, a few dozen people
worked with dry-erase markers and cut out
building footprints on maps of the campus, to
locate the new buildings in relation to the campuss major features and its pedestrian and
vehicular circulation systems. The second workshop was much larger, involving over 80 people
divided into three teams, facilitated by architects
Talbot Sweetapple and Melanie Hayne from
MLSA, and Dave Premi from RDH. Brian
MacKay-Lyons and Bob Goyeche served as roving
critics, as did the engineering and landscape
consultants. Premi reflects on his experience in
the process: This was really the Integrated Team
Approach people talk about. You have to be open
to what comes out of the workshop, and not have
a pre-determined design. What I find remarkable about this process is how Brian MacKayLyons remains open to the look of the project
until very late into the process, even into
schematic design. By really listening to workshop
participants, you tend to get a much higher
degree of buy-in to the project.
In their workshops, MLSA want to understand
the users views on the spatial relationships
between different program elements and the
hierarchies of space (public, semi-public, private) that are implicit in them.
Well into the design phase, project cost estimates were showing a significant escalation in
materials and labour costs, threatening the viability of the project. The team went through a
complete redesign, maintaining the internal
hierarchies and spatial adjacencies within each
building by stacking the Lifespan Development
Building on top of the Campus Store. In this way,
the architects replaced two three-storey buildings, with all their associated foundation and
envelope costs, with one five-storey building.
One consequent challenge was bringing light into
the central area of the block. While on most
floors, this zone could be programmed with labs
or transient functions, on a few floors, offices
had to be located in these areas. The solution was
to provide translucent panels next to the doors to
peripheral offices, so that light would pass into
the inner offices. Another economy was achieved
by switching to the Thermodeck system, which
supplies warm air through plenums built into the
structural decking. In Sweetapples words, This
allowed us to get rid of the ceilings and ductwork,
and delete three feet from each floor.
We see then, through these three university
buildings designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

20

20

20

24

20
20

23

23

22

21

25

4
A
NSCAD PLAN LEVEL 3
A

19

19

18

17

20

14

15

20
16

16

20

12

12

13

17

20

A
NSCAD PLAN LEVEL 2
A

2
1

3
5

11

10

4
4

4
7
4

A
0

NSCAD PLAN LEVEL 1

30

1 ENTRY
2 GALLERY
3 LOBBY
4 OFFICE
5 WOOD SHOP
6 SCULPTURE
7 METAL SHOP
8 WOOD FINISH
9 SLURRY ROOM
10 FOUNDRY
11 PATINA
12 PLASTIC
13 PRODUCT DESIGN
14 MULTIPURPOSE
15 PHOTO
16 COMPUTER CLUSTER
17 STUDIO
18 EXHIBITION
19 STUDENT LOUNGE
20 SUPPORT/SERVICES
21 CERAMICS
22 KILN ROOM
23 GLAZING
24 MOLD MAKING
25 CLAY MIXING

NSCAD SECTION A

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

23

p18-25 MLS projects

7/23/08

1:22 PM

Page 24

12

11

10

11

10

13

14

BROCK UNIVERSITYTYPICAL FLOOR PLAN

2
4
5
9

1
6

BROCK UNIVERSITYGROUND-FLOOR PLAN


1
2
3
4
5

6 CHECK-OUT
7 CAMPUS STORE
8 BENCH
9 SHIPPING/RECEIVING
10 CLASSROOM

ENTRY
ATRIUM
COURTYARD
STREET
DISPLAY

11
12
13
14

COMPUTER ROOM
STUDY LOUNGE
SEMINAR ROOM
OFFICES

10M

ARTHUR
SCHMON
TOWER
JUBILEE
COURT

MACKENZIE
CHOWN
COMPLEX

TARO HALL

BROCK SITE PLAN

24 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

ALUMNI
STUDENT
CENTRE

PLAZA 2006

Meter Road

Isaac Brock Blvd. East

INSIDE BROCKS NEWEST CAMPUS BUILDING, THE STEEL STRUCTURE IS


CLEARLY EXPRESSED WHILE THE SPATIAL QUALITIES OF THE ATRIUM DEFINE
THE LIMESTONE-CLAD SERVICE CORRIDORS AT EACH END OF THE FACILITY,
SERVING AS ARCHITECTURAL BOOKENDS. ABOVE THE CAREFULLY DETAILED
STONE AND COPPER ELEMENTS CREATE A SOBER YET ELEGANT STUDENT
FACILITY AMIDST A CAMPUS LARGELY DOMINATED BY PARKING LOTS.
TOP

Isaac Brock Blvd. East

University Road

University Road West

30M

p18-25 MLS projects

7/23/08

1:08 PM

Page 25

FACULTY OFFICES
(COPPER)
SERVICE CORES
(ESCARPMENT
LIMESTONE)
CAMPUS
STORE/ATRIUM
(GLASS)
FACULTY OFFICES
(CHERRY WOOD)

SERVICE CORES
(ESCARPMENT
LIMESTONE)

CAMPUS STORE/ATRIUM
(GLASS)

PROGRAMMATIC DIAGRAM

1 Lawrence Halprin and Jim Burns, Taking Part: A Workshop approach to Collective Creativity
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974) 27-29.
2 The idea of participatory design has been developed further by Randy Hester, Henry
Sanoff, and architects such as Lucien Kroll and Giancarlo di Carlo. See Randolph T. Hester,
Community Design Primer (Caspar, CA: Ridge Times Press, 1990); E. Henry Sanoff, Designing
With Community Participation (Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, 1978); Nan
Ellin, Participatory Architecture on the Parisian Periphery: Lucien Krolls Vignes
Blanches in the Journal of Architectural Education 53, no. 3 (February 2000): 178-183.
3 Malcolm Quantrill, Kenneth Frampton, Glen Murcutt, Plain Modern: the Architecture of
Brian MacKay-Lyons (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005) 176.

Christine Macy is the incoming Dean at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning
at Dalhousie University, where she has taught since 1993. Her books include
Architecture and Nature (2003), Festival Architecture (2007) and the forthcoming Dams (2008).

MLS ARCHITECTS

Architects, that participatory design is a highly creative and evolving


process. Dave Premi reflects on this, looking back on his experience of the
collaboration: I have been involved with MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple
Architects participatory design process on a number of buildings. Each
time we created a new process, since every client has its own requirements.
You have to mold the process each time to suit the requirements. Its not a
one-size-fits-all method.
The resulting buildings reflect each unique condition. While the projects
share a simplicity and clarity of form that mark them as distinctively
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple works, they appear to have left behind a large
body of satisfied users, people who will inhabit these dwellings and appreciate them, having had a part in their conception and making. CA

DERIVED FROM A SERIES OF CLEARLY STATED ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES (AND SEEN IN THE PROGRAMMATIC DIAGRAMS
LOCATED ABOVE LEFT), THE NEW PLAZA 2006 AT BROCK UNIVERSITY DISPLAYS ITS STOIC COMPOSITION OF LIMESTONE, GLASS AND COPPER.
ABOVE BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS LEADS A PARTICIPATORY DESIGN SESSION
WITH UNIVERSITY STAFF AND FACULTY.
TOP AND MIDDLE

PROJECT PLAZA 2006, BROCK UNIVERSITY, ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO


ARCHITECT MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROUNTHWAITE, DICK & HADLEY
ARCHITECTS
CLIENT BROCK UNIVERSITY
LANDSCAPE NAK DESIGN GROUP
ARCHITECT TEAM BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS, TALBOT
INTERIORS GHA DESIGN STUDIOS (CAMPUS STORE)
SWEETAPPLE, BOB GOYECHE, DAVID PREMI, MELANIE
CONTRACTOR MERIT CONTRACTORS NIAGARA
HAYNE, SANJOY PAL, JUSTIN BENNETT, SHELLEY VANDERWAL, OTHER SPECIALIST CONSULTANTS TERMODECK
CHAD JAMIESON, SAWA ROSTKOWSKA, KEVIN REID
CANADA, ENERMODAL ENGINEERING, CFMS-WEST
CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION DAVID PREMI ARCHITECT
CONSULTING INC.
INC.
AREA 86,000 FT2
STRUCTURAL HALSALL ENGINEERS AND CONSULTANTS
BUDGET $22 M
MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL JAIN AND ASSOCIATES
COMPLETION SEPTEMBER 2007

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

25

p26 US Aluminum ad

7/21/08

11:53 AM

Page 26

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Give us a call or visit our web site to get the complete picture.

www.usalum.com

Photos-top to bottom: River Rock Casino, Richmond, BC, Randy Knill Architect, Sardo Foods, Bolton, Ontario, Noor Architects, Techtown University of Waterloo, Research & Tech
Park, Waterloo, Ontario, SRM Architects, Waterloo, Heffner Toyota, Cambridge, Ontario, Jamesway Design Build, Elmira Stove Works, Elmira, Ontario, Architecture Incorporated

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p27 Mapei ad

7/21/08

11:50 AM

Page 27

A sound investment for


a sound environment
c
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Sound-control and
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s2EDUCESTRANSMISSIONOFAIRBORNE
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p28-32 YouYou

7/23/08

1:28 PM

Page 28

ONLY YOU YOU


PROJECT YOU YOU INTERNATIONAL PLAZA,
PUDONG DISTRICT, SHANGHAI, CHINA
ARCHITECTS B+H ARCHITECTS AND ECADI
TEXT DAVID STEINER
PHOTOS KERUN IP

The Huang River flows north through Shanghai


toward the East China Sea. On its eastern bank is
the economic region of Pudong, a free-market
trade zone set up by the Chinese government in
the early 1990s. Technically part of the larger city,
Pudong functions semi-autonomously; it has
become cosmopolitan and wealthy. In little more
than 15 years, farm fields have morphed into a
city: teeming streets, high-rise apartments, congestion, a giant airport, and a skyline thick with
construction cranes.
In 1989, Toronto-based B+H, formerly known
as Bregman + Hamann Architects, set up an office
in Shanghai. With great foresight, they entered
the Chinese market at an auspicious time. One of
the legacies of the Cultural Revolution was the
eradication of technical knowledge related to
building science and construction. As certain
aspects of the Communist grip on the economy
relaxed, the country began looking to foreign
firms whose expertise and knowledge could bring
an international quality to the infrastructure they
were rebuilding. And in the beginning, B+H
worked on large government-sponsored civic
projects like hospitals, universities and airports.
Chinas economic boom allowed already large
Shanghai to grow rapidly. In an effort to modernize, the government began expropriating farmland around the city, where housing and industry
could be built without constraint. At the same
time, ginseng, an herbal plant which was once
little known outside Asia, became popular in the
West for its reputed healing powers. Demand for
it caused prices to spike. A wealthy ginseng
farmer known as Mr. San (or Mr. Big to his staff
and clients), convinced the government to spare
his land from development. His farm was used as
a showcase to mitigate the media outcry over land
seizures. As development increased in the surrounding area, so did the value of his land.
San began to develop his property in 2004. His
parcel of land was now in the middle of a growing
urban area, and was located above a future subway
station. The project undertaken by San is named
the You You International Plaza, and called for
2.1 million square feet comprising a hotel, residences, office and retail space. An international
RIGHT A WOMAN WALKS BENEATH THE SERRATED BUILDING ENVELOPE OF THE NEW
RENTAL TOWER. OPPOSITE THE ATRIUM OF THE
BUSTLING SHOPPING CENTRE LOCATED IN THE
YOU YOU INTERNATIONAL PLAZA.

p28-32 YouYou

7/23/08

1:28 PM

Page 29

HAVING OPERATED A SIZEABLE SHANGHAI OFFICE FOR MANY YEARS, TORONTO


FIRM B+H HAS DESIGNED AND BUILT SEVERAL PROJECTS IN CHINA, ONE OF WHICH
IS THIS $250-MILLION COMPLEX ON THE SITE OF A FORMER GINSENG FARM.

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

29

p28-32 YouYou

7/23/08

1:28 PM

Page 30

18
4

5
16

6
17

7
9

15

10

14
11

13
12

GROUND FLOOR
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

SUBWAY ENTRANCE
MAIN ENTRY
ACCESS TO BELOW-GRADE PARKING
HOTEL LOBBY
FRONT DESK
80-SEAT RESTAURANT
CAF
LOADING AREA
COURTYARD

30 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

0
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

PUBLIC PROMENADE
300-SEAT RESTAURANT
APARTMENT DROP-OFF
ENTRY TO APARTMENTS
APARTMENT LOBBY
ENTRY TO CONFERENCE CENTRE ABOVE
ENTRY TO SPA
PIANO BAR
GIFT SHOP

10M

p28-32 YouYou

7/23/08

1:28 PM

Page 31

RIGHT DESIGNERS AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS HAD TO WORK HARD IN CONCEALING


THE NUMEROUS MECHANICAL VENTS LOCATED AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE COMPLEX.
MULTIPLE ENTRANCES SIGNALLED A NEED FOR
A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE SENSITIVE TO
PEDESTRIANS. MIDDLE A VIEW OF THE ENTIRE
PROJECT. BOTTOM THE SITE PLAN ILLUSTRATES THE
LOCATION OF THE THREE TOWERS AND THE
SHOPPING PLAZA.

competition was held, as mandated by the government, and B+H won. They partnered with a local
institutea quasi-private company comprised of
architects, engineers and draftspeopleto handle
the production drawings and site supervision. The
entry proposal consisted of two podium pieces
divided by a small road, and a series of four point
towers set on top. Three towers, oblong in shape,
were originally lined up on one podium, and
angled on the site to maximize views and sunlight.
The fourth tower was set on another podium and
would be twice the height and girth of the others.
The shorter three would be for housing, while the
fourth was to be allocated for a hotel and office
complex. Retail space would be accommodated
beneath the towers.
Building codes are strict in Shanghai: all
rooms, including kitchens and bathrooms, must
have access to light and natural ventilation regardless of their height from the ground. Primary
rooms, such as the master bedroom and living
area, are required to face south. Long, doubleloaded corridors are not valued by Chinese consumers, and this results in compact, elegant
building forms. This is what B+H eventually
delivered for the You You project.
Ultimately, the design shifted from four towers
to three: one is currently a Sheraton Hotel, another is filled with rental apartments, and the third is
devoted to office space. The client is changing
the entire project all the time, said Torontobased Douglas Birkenshaw, the lead design partner for You You. Nothing in the program was definite as the project pieces developed through an
iterative process. Construction financing is different in China: a solid business plan isnt needed
nor is a definitive timeline. It is far easier to
acquire financing, assuming you have the right
connections. San even began construction without
a hotel partnerthe prime tenant.
They are unusually cavalier about it all, said
Kevin Stelzer, a senior associate in the Toronto
office, referring to the clients appetite for risk.
Meetings with San and his staff were filled with
brief presentations by B+H, social protocol, and
heavy smoking. San would speak the least and
always last. Wendy Qiu, a Chinese architect, led the
work in B+Hs China office. The studio is bilingual
and staffed mostly by local architects, though
translators were part of the project team. Despite
cultural differences, the client and the city are
serious about quality, both in urban design and
architecture. Many of the citys planners are young,
fluent in numerous languages, and educated in

SITE PLAN

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

31

p28-32 YouYou

7/23/08

1:28 PM

Page 32

A VIEW OF THE LANDSCAPED INTERIOR COURTYARD. ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT A SCULPTURAL STAIR TAKES
VISITORS UP TOWARD THE CONFERENCE CENTRE; THE CENTRAL TOWER WITH A VIEW OF SHANGHAIS PUDONG REGION IN THE BACKGROUND.

TOP

other places, often North America.


Much of the sophistication comes from a willingness to improve. The spirit of the place, says
Birkenshaw, is about embracing the future and a
young culture that is keen on experimentation.
Working with consultants like B+H, the Chinese
construction industry is reacquiring an international expertise. Quality materials are now
locally available, and much of the You You complex
was fabricated nearby. A penchant by Chinese
engineers for outsized, conservative concrete
32 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

structure has given way to steel and curtain-wall


construction. It also helps that labour is cheap.
The skin of the You You towers would be too
expensive for a rental building anywhere other
than perhaps New York or London. It takes on a
zig-zag shape where the operable windows are
located on the short, projecting side, and a frit
pattern covers the top and bottom of each glass
panel. Any piece of construction is dependent on
the individual assembling it, said Karen
Cvornyek, principal of B+Hs China office and a

Canadian who has lived there for five years. For


this reason, government control is strenuous.
A majority of the labour is unskilled, resulting in
increased legislation to deal with its quality. When
projects are complete, the contractor simply adds
more workers, compounding the difficulties of
quality control. Cvornyek believes that the regulations in Chinas main cities are rigorous and that a
repeat of the rural building failures caused by the
earthquakes in May 2008 would be unlikely.
After four years of design and construction, the
You You International Plaza opened. B+Hs scheme
was taken to a level of advanced design development and then detailed by the local institute in a
manner consistent with the design drawings. In
the hotel tower, an interior atrium garden carved
out of the south side rises up the height of the
building, and is defined on the exterior by a subtle change in glass treatment. The atrium air
forms a dynamic buffer zone to reduce the mechanical loads. Displacement ventilation under the
raised flooring of the offices and a green roof over
the lobby of the hotel were also retained. A courtyard garden set in the middle of the block into
which the restaurants, apartments and hotel lobby
face, was built symmetrically. Originally not endorsed by Birkenshaws team, it was nevertheless
well-crafted and in general conformity with B+Hs
intent. In recent years, Chinese building codes
have been published in a series of books and are
changing constantly, but have been adapted to
enforce greater energy savings. Insulation is not
common in Shanghai, a climate milder than
Vancouver, and the client asked that it not be included. B+H advised to the contrary and installed
insulation to a thickness of 50 millimetres. The
windows, originally single pane, were installed as
double-glazed units.
The You You Plaza is defined by mature landscaping, spare detailing, an urbane street canopy
at the hotel entrance, and sunny, skylit retail
spaces. All this signals a desire by Chinese clients
to create structures that depart from dreary concrete blocks or garish icons. Simple apartment
housing, considered old after only 10 to 20 years,
is being replaced with architecture that is contemporary and sophisticated. However, it is
important to note that the replacements evidence
high standards of quality and design. There is an
overwhelming optimism and excitement, says
Cvornyek. The majority of the country is
involved in recreating the nation as a world
power, and there is certainly collective agreement on realizing that vision. CA
David Steiner is a freelance writer living in Ontario.
CLIENT SHANGHAI YOU YOU INTERNATIONAL PLAZA CO., LTD.
ARCHITECT TEAM KAREN CVORNYEK, DOUGLAS BIRKENSHAW, WENDY
QIU, MARK BEREST, KEVIN STELZER, SUSAN JIANG, YOUSUN XIE, BIN LIN,
PHILIP SHEN, KAIYAN SU, HAZEL CHENG, CHRISTINE LUK, GEOFF
HODGETTS, GABRIELA SAVU, TANTAN LI
STRUCTURAL/MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/LANDSCAPE ECADI
INTERIORS HONGKONG HBA
CONTRACTOR SHANGHAI CONSTRUCTION GROUP DIVISION 1
AREA 200,000 M2
BUDGET $251.5 M/1,700,000,000 RMB (INCLUDING INTERIOR)
COMPLETION 2007

p33 Excellence Entry form

7/23/08

1:38 PM

Page 33

2008 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

Canadian Architect invites architects registered in Canada and architectural graduates


to enter the magazines 2008 Awards of Excellence.
Eligibility

4. Please do not submit any material in CD, DVD, or any other audio-visual
format not confined to two dimensions, as it will not be considered.

Projects must be in the design stage, scheduled for construction or under


construction but not substantially complete by September 16, 2008. All
projects must be commissioned by a client with the intention to build the
submitted proposal. All building types and concisely presented urban
design schemes are eligible.

Entry Fee

Judging Criteria

Publication

Awards are given for architectural design excellence. Jurors will consider the
schemes response to the clients program, site, and geographic and social
context. They will evaluate its physical organization, form, structure, materials and environmental features.

Winners will be published in a special issue of Canadian Architect in


December 2008. Winners grant Canadian Architect first publication rights
for their winning submissions.

$50.00 per entry ($47.62 + $2.38 GST). Please make cheques payable to
Canadian Architect. GST registration #890939689RT0001.

Awards
Presentation

1. Anonymity. The designers name must not appear on the submission except
on the entry form. The project name and location should be identified.
2. Each entry must be securely fastened in a folder or binder of dimensions
no greater than 14 17; oversized panels will not be accepted. One (1)
copy of this entry form must be enclosed within an envelope and affixed
to the front of each folder, preferably without the use of Scotch tape or
adhesives. Clips are ideal.
3. Each project folder must include:
a) first pagea brief description of the project
b) second pagea brief description indicating the projects ability to
address some or all of the following issues:
i) context and/or urban design components
ii) integration of sustainable design
iii) innovation in addressing program and/or the clients requirements
iv) technical considerations through building materials and/or systems
c) drawings/images including site plan, floor plans, sections, elevations
and/or model views

Framed certificates will be given to each winning architect team and client.
Details to follow upon notification of winners.
Notification of Winners

Award winners will be notified after judging takes place in October 2008.
Deadline

Entries will be accepted after August 14, 2008. Send all entries to arrive by
5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 to:
Awards of Excellence 2008
Canadian Architect
12 Concorde Place
Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 4J2
Return of Entries

Entries will not be returned.

Name of Project

Name of Firm

Address

Telephone

City & Province

Fax

E-mail

Architect/Architectural Graduate submitting the project


according to the conditions above

Signature

Client

Client Telephone

Postal Code

p34-35 Technical

7/23/08

1:40 PM

Page 34

TECHNICAL

COURTESY ZEIDLER PARTNERSHIP

SOFTWARE COMPANIES CONTINUE TO ROLL OUT


NEW BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING (BIM)
SOFTWARE AS ARCHITECTS LEARN TO ADJUST TO
THE NEW REALITIES OF CAD PRODUCTION IN
THEIR OFFICES.

TEXT

DOUGLAS MACLEOD

Writing about architecture and computers is not a


lucrative profession, nor is it filled with the perks
of more glamorous forms of journalism. In the
more than 20 years that I have written for Canadian Architect, the free lunches have been few and
far betweenwhich at least keeps me honest. Last
spring, however, I was invited on what can only
be described as a junket to attend Autodesks
World Press Days in San Francisco. What I saw
and heard surprised, delighted, amused and
occasionally disturbed me.
The nature of the event is worth noting since
34 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

the junket itself revealed a great deal about the


future of architecture. Over 100 journalists
including myselffrom all over the world were
flown to San Francisco where we were wined,
dined and entertained at the luxurious Mark
Hopkins Hotel. There is little doubt that the
event was superbly organized. Theatrical lighting
accented well-prepared speeches and announcements that rolled off teleprompters with clockwork precision. The PowerPoint presentations
were carefully designed with a high degree of
professionalism and sophistication, and each was
informative and to the point. A promotional animation about Santiago Calatravas Spire in
Chicago was created by a rising Hollywood director using various Autodesk packages, and its
screening was worthy of consideration by the
Academy. Key Autodesk personnel made themselves readily available for carefully scheduled
one-on-one interviews. There was even a bag of

swag that included a free graphics card.


There was also much to admire in Autodesks
commitment to the critical issues of design. They
are proactive in promoting and facilitating sustainable design; they are committed to Building
Information Modelling or BIM; and they have
funded a research chair in design education and
innovation at the National Institute of Design in
India.
It was so impressive that it made me long for
the days when dorks and weirdos would congregate in poorly organized panels to rant about the
future of CAD in forums such as the now-defunct
A/E/C Systems, to demonstrate software that
rarely worked (but which they had made themselves), and to show off awkward graphics in garish colours that had taken days to render. These
were the days when Autodesks only real product
was AutoCAD and, as I often reminded readers, it
wasnt very good. Nonetheless, by bringing CAD
to the personal computer in 1982 at a price of
around $1,000 US, there is little doubt that
Autodesk revolutionized the world of CAD and
architecture.
Autodesks current position was by no means
guaranteed in those days. Its early attempts to
diversify with products such as Xanadu for hypertext and Cyberspace for virtual reality were failures and its rat line for reporting illegal copies of
AutoCAD was an unfortunate exercise in public
relations. Quietly (but aggressively), however,
AutoDesk came to dominate the world of visualization through a series of strategic acquisitions.
In 1998 they purchased Montreal-based Discreet
Logic, known for its digital special-effects software, for $520 million US in stock. In 2002 they
acquired Revit for $133 million US in cash. In
2005 they purchased Toronto-based Alias for
$182 million US in cash, which gave them packages such as Maya (for animation) and Studio (for
automotive and industrial design). And in 2007,
they bought construction-management software
maker NavisWorks for $25 million US in cash.
During World Press Days, they announced that
they would acquire both Green Building Studio
and Carmel Software for undisclosed amounts to
strengthen their offerings in the area of sustainable design. Combined with their own offerings
DESIGNED BY FOSTER +
PARTNERS AND THE ZEIDLER PARTNERSHIP, THE
ENCANA CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN
CALGARY WAS DESIGNED AND DEVELOPED
WITH THE HELP OF AUTODESKS REVIT, A BIM
PROGRAM DESTINED TO OVERTAKE AUTOCAD
IN A FEW YEARS.

TOP AND ABOVE LEFT

SYVERSON MONTEYNE ARCHITECTURE INC.

COURTESY ZEIDLER PARTNERSHIP

ROLL UP THE BIM TO WIN

7/23/08

1:40 PM

Page 35

SYVERSON MONTEYNE ARCHITECTURE INC.

p34-35 Technical

ABOVE GOOGLES POPULARAND PARTIALLY


FREESKETCHUP CAD PROGRAM ALLOWS
OFFICES LIKE WINNIPEGS SYVERSON
MONTEYNE ARCHITECTURE TO PRODUCE
CONVINCING SPACE-PLANNING DIAGRAMS,
MASSING MODELS, AND CONCEPTUAL DRAWINGS ILLUSTRATING THE DELIVERY AND INSTALLATION OF BUILDING COMPONENTS.

and packages, this means that Autodesk dominates or has major products in every area of visualization from GIS to character animation. As
former CEO Carol Bartz is reported to have said,
Look around you: if God didnt create it,
AutoCAD did.
The only challenge to Autodesk in the foreseeable future may come from open-source or free
products such as Google SketchUp. The latest version of AutoCAD retails for $3,995 US so while
SketchUp doesnt have anywhere near the capabilities of Revit or AutoCAD, it does have a distinct
price advantage and is popular with students.
Today, however, according to company president and CEO Carl Bass, the installed base of
Autodesk products is 9 million worldwide with
750,000 new users being added each year. In a
very real sense, the future of computer-aided
design is the future of Autodesk. Such market
dominance is always worrisome but in this case it
is also confusing. AutoCAD and Revit, for example, would seem to be competing products but
Autodesk continues to develop both products and
has just released AutoCAD 2009. The same is

true of products such as Maya and 3ds Max.


Nonetheless, it is clear that they now have sufficient resources and market share to drive the
acceptance of BIM or any other approach they
choose. BIM could be the most important development in CAD (and architecture) of this decade
because it could transform our approach to
design and documentation. Theoretically, BIM
would allow architects to develop a data-driven
model that would not only form the source of all
representations of a building but would also be
shared across all phases and disciplines involved
in the design, construction and operation of a
building. In effect, the model would be the contract and its documentation. Such a model would
include not only the geometries of building components but also information such as their cost,
performance specifications and even their carbon footprint. A complete model developed using
BIM would provide architects and engineers with
unprecedented opportunities for analyzing the
behaviour of a building before it was built. The
problem is that a complete model may be an
unattainable goal.
Given that one piece of inaccurate data can
undermine the integrity of the model, who
should enter, verify and maintain that data? The
architect? The engineer? The manufacturer? Or a
company such as Autodesk? Given the dominance of Autodesk, will BIM become a proprietary standard or an open-source format? What
about transferring data between models? Given

the vast array of Autodesk packages, it was not


surprising to find that files and data could not be
easily transferred between its own products, but
BIM demands that data be easily and accurately
transferred between multiple packages by multiple vendors. The profession needs to think very
carefully about BIM and its implementation.
BIM could add a whole new layer of functionality to CAD, but it will probably mean more work
(and perhaps liability) for architects and designers as they try to maintain an accurate model
throughout the life cycle of a building. Unfortunately, if past history is any indication, the profession probably wont be able to profit from this
development although Autodesk probably will.
Architects gave away the store when they began
providing their AutoCAD files to clients at no
extra cost so its hard to imagine that they wont
do the same with BIM. Unlike AutoDesk, architects have a poor track record in understanding
the business of building. CA
Douglas MacLeod is the Executive Director of the
Okanagan Science and Technology Council and the
former Executive Director of the Canadian Design
Research Network. He invites you to participate in his
latest research project, the Architecture of Cyberspace,
by visiting the following URL and filling out the
online survey: http://websurvey.sfu.ca/survey/
13230518. For more information, please contact Doug
at dmacleod@cdrn.ca.

08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

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p36 Showcase

7/23/08

1:42 PM

Page 36

PRODUCT & LITERATURE SHOWCASE


Lock in Sound Control
Permanently with
Acousti-Mat CLP

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Introducing a permanent solution


for impact sound control in concrete high-rise construction
Acousti-Mat CLP (Concrete/Low
Profile). The <45 mils Acousti-Mat
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subfloor and then topped with a
Maxxon Underlayment, permanently encasing the Acousti-Mat CLP
in the underlayment. Recommendations are also available for gluing
floor goods directly to Acousti-Mat
CLP. www.maxxoncorporation.com

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Redline Bench

MAPEIs Latest Membrane


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Redline achieves its form with a


continuous sheet of perforated
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The design language compliments
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Redline is a natural for transportation, public buildings, and corporate and public plazas.

With new Mapesonic SM, the


annoyance of airborne and impact
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reduced. The premium peel-andstick membrane not only offers an
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job site. Printed layout lines help
reduce the labour associated with
measuring and cutting.

Visit landscapeforms.com
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Kee Lite Architectural


Railings

Mouette: Designed by
Wilmotte & Associes

Kee Lite safety railing components


feature distinct contours and a
bright aluminum finish to build attractive railings and other tubular
pipe structures. Available in a wide
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Cuts installation costs up to 50%
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877-505-5003. www.KeeSafety.

Designed for unusual creative lighting of work or communal spaces.


Creating poetic lighting panoramas
for both public and private environments. The diffuser, with a specially
shaped wing, is made in a single
piece using rotational moulding
technology which allows even light
emission. Available in symmetrical
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linear fluorescent T5 light sources,
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different wattages. Materials: polypropylene. Emission: flood.

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AccuPly Fascia and Soffit


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Permacon Noble
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Flynn Canadas new AccuPly composite fascia and soffit panel system is a cost-effective approach to
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p37 Calendar+PD

7/23/08

1:44 PM

Page 37

CALENDAR
Shanghai Kaleidoscope

May 4-November 2, 2008 Taking place


at the Royal Ontario Museum, this
exhibition examines Shanghai as a
laboratory for 21st-century urban
creation, presenting four key
aspects of the citys vibrant culture:
architecture, urban design, contemporary art, and fashion, bringing
together a mix of architectural models and digital simulations; designer
fashion apparel, drawings and runway videos; and paintings, photo-

works and video installations by the


citys leading contemporary artists.
Adrian Blackwell: Models For
Public Spaces

July 17-September 7, 2008 In this exhibition, Adrian Blackwells sculptures sit inside and outside the Art
Gallery of Mississauga as infrastructures for both action and contemplation. These physical structures
act as diagrams for the strategic
structures between different people

in social spaces, opening up question about the boundaries of the


public in a city like Mississauga.
www.artgalleryofmississauga.com
VOUSSIOR CLOUD

August 1-September 14, 2008 The


SCI-Arc Gallery presents this sitespecific installation by San Francisco-based architecture and design
practice IwamotoScott which explores the coupling of potentially
conflicting constructional logics.
www.iwamotoscott.com

PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY
Architect as Developer

Turn roof tops into


landscaped decks.
Paver Pedestal System
Call or send for free
descriptive literature

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August 24, 2008 This seminar at the


Convention Center in Washington,
DC will be hosted by Jonathan Segal,
FAIA, who will examine case studies
of his own work, explaining the entire process of architect as developer.
www.architectasdeveloper.com

Hertzberger and Barry Bergdoll acting as keynote speakers. The conference will unite architects, architectural historians and preservationists in debate, reaching out to
policy-makers, politicians, project
developers, cultural theorists, philosophers, artists, clients and users.
www.docomomo2008.nl
Managing Risk at the Pre-Tender
Stages of Your Construction
Project

September 23-24, 2008 This conference takes place at the Four Seasons
Hotel in Toronto, and offers valuable information on bonding and
insurance factors, the pre-qualification process, comparing traditional and electronic bid advertising
methods, and best practices for successful communications between
owners and bidders.
www.canadianinstitute.com

10th Docomomo conference

September 13-20, 2008 The central


theme of this conference in Rotterdam is The Challenge of Change
Dealing with the Legacy of the Modern Movement with Herman

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT


THESE, AND ADDITIONAL LISTINGS OF CANADIAN AND INTERNATIONAL EVENTS, PLEASE VISIT
www.canadianarchitect.com

Noise, Vibration
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Consulting Engineers

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F: 905-826-4940
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08/08 CANADIAN ARCHITECT

37

p38 BackPage

7/24/08

4:41 PM

Page 38

BACKPAGE

SACRED SPACE
A 5 7 GRID OF FREELY SWINGING
ACRYLIC RODS FORM AN ARMATURE OF SORTS
FOR KEARNS MANCINI ARCHITECTS INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION ENTITLED CEREMONY.

LEFT

AN EXHIBITION AT TORONTOS YORK QUAY CENTRE EXAMINES NOTIONS OF THE SACRED.

TEXT

LESLIE JEN
TREVOR KAI

PHOTO

Curated by Patrick Macaulay, head of visual arts at


Harbourfront, Sacred Space is the second exhibition in the architecture gallery at York Quay
Centre, Torontos newest venue devoted to architectural practice and ideology. To address the
issue of what constitutes the sacred within a
spatial construct, Macaulay approached three
Toronto architecture firms with no specifically
religious projects in their building portfolios,
each of whom responded with thoughtful investigations into the nature of sacred space. The
resulting installations recognize that the sacred
can indeed be secular and moreover, highly
personal.
Although the show would appear to have a
regional bias in that all three participating firms
are Toronto-based, the teams do recognize the
subjectivity inherent in the question of what is
sacred, and as such, have created installations
that are open to interpretation and which are not
determinative of experience.
Of the three, Taylor_Smyth Architects approach is the most literal, as they have chosen to
exhibit an array of existing spaces located within
the urban fabric of Torontohence, the name of
their contribution, In Search of the Sacred in the
Space of the City. The manner in which this is
accomplished is through a random arrangement
38 CANADIAN ARCHITECT 08/08

of large cardboard tubes suspended from the


ceiling into which illuminated video screens are
inserted at various heights. Like walking through
a dense, dark forest, visitors can peer into the
screens in each tree trunk for glimpses of the
sometimes surprising choices by individual
members of the firm. Whether its a massive
chunk of granite located in an urban park or a
frenetic and congested downtown intersection,
the selections are united by a particular sort of
resonance and a novel perception of what constitutes the sacred.
Levitt Goodmans Twilight presents an abstract
experience that could be anywhere: in a barely lit
section of the gallery, a shallow ramp leads to a
small vaguely auricle-shaped space defined by a
pale scrim stretched tautly around the organic
curves of the enclosure. In keeping with the twilight theme, projected on the scrim is a bluish
light that morphsbarely perceptiblyover six
minutes, in a temporal compression intended to
mimic the 24-hour daily cycle of light. Accompanying the lighting effects are a faintly vibrating
floor and a disorienting soundscape resembling a
constant rushing stream of white noise, courtesy
of artist Yiu-Bun Chan. This subtle manipulation
of the senses takes one outsideor perhaps
insideof oneself, to create a highly personal

and possibly sacred experience.


Making an even stronger statement as to the
subjective nature of the sacred, Kearns Mancini
Architects present a rigorously detailed construction, inviting exhibition viewers to share
what they feel to be sacred. In this darkened corner of the gallery, Ceremony dominates with a
visually arresting installation of 35 thin clear
acrylic rods suspended from the ceiling in a 5 7
orthogonal grid, each fibre-optically illuminated.
The premise of this piece is that the meaning
of sacred space is wholly subjective; in this case,
it is derived from the viewers participation and
engagement, as they are encouraged to take one
of the many clear acetate strips available and with
a Jiffy marker write down what sacred space
means to them. These strips are then meant to be
tied to the dangling rods to form organically generated foliage for this transparent forest. As in
many interactive installations in galleries these
days, participants seem eager to share their opinionsthere are numerous statements dripping
with heartwarming sentimentality describing
sacred space as being wherever family members
or beloved pets are, along with bizarrely irrelevant comments such as Go Leafs Go! (certainly
less sacred, more profane). At times, the results
are disappointing, as the comments reveal a lack
of understanding of space but instead focus on
condition. Nonetheless, the ethereal, pristine
quality of the installation is undeniably appealing, animated by the brush of a hand which sets
the rods asway, while the acetate strips flutter
like transparent leaves.
Sacred Spaces obvious departure from any
defined religious or spiritual focus is telling, as it
acknowledges the pluralistic quality of our contemporary culture, whether from a religious,
socioeconomic or political perspective. It is a
gesture wholly reflective of multicultural Toronto,
and as such resists any kind of homogeneity. The
investigations and questions provoked by the
exhibition will perhaps encourage the public to
be more conscious of and sensitive to their environments, to think in a more sophisticated manner about space, and about the rapidly changing
cities in which they live. CA
Sacred Space continues until September 7, 2008 at
Torontos Harbourfront Centre.

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8/5/08

2:49 PM

Page 39

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p40 Artemide ad

7/25/08

11:39 AM

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